Britain: Parliament suspension is unlawful- Supreme Court tells Boris Johnson in historic judgement
London, Sep 24, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The highest court in the UK says Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, but justifiable the Supreme Court has ruled.
Mr Johnson suspended – or prorogued – Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, saying it was to allow a Queen’s Speech to outline his new policies.
But the UK’s highest court said it was wrong to stop Parliament carrying out its duties.
has backed British PM’s decision to suspend parliament
Supreme court rules Boris Johnson’s prorogation was ‘unlawful’
Hale says this prorogation had ‘extreme’ impact on parliament
Hale says the prorogation did impede parliament.
The effects on the fundamentals of democracy was extreme.
Hale says this ‘prolonged’ prorogation was not normal
Hale says, once that principle is established, the next question is whether this prorogation stopped parliament carrying out its usual functions.
Hale says using prorogation to prevent parliament carrying out its role would be unlawful
Hale says there are two issues with a prerogative power.
First, does the power exist?
Second, is it subject to judicial review?
Hale says there is no doubt that the courts can review a prerogative power. All the parties accept that. What is at issue is what are the limits of this power.
Hale says parliaement must be able to make laws everyone can obey.
This principle would be undermined if the government could close parliament, she says.
She says parliament must also be able to hold the executive to account.
Supreme court has decided unanimously that prorogation is justicable
Hale says 11 justices heard the appeal.
The judgement is unanimous, she says.
She says the matter is justiciable.
The Apex court says is set to make a historic ruling on whether Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was lawful.
Ministers say the suspension, or prorogation, is not a court matter, but critics argue it was intended to limit scrutiny of the PM’s Brexit plans.
If the judgement – due at 10:30 BST – goes against Mr Johnson, Parliament could be reconvened immediately.
The government has said it will “abide by the ruling” of the Supreme Court.
But Mr Johnson – who is in New York for a UN climate conference – has refused to rule out seeking to prorogue Parliament for a second time if the ruling goes against him.
Parliament is currently due to return on 14 October, with the UK scheduled to leave the EU on 31 October.
The three-day hearing at the Supreme Court dealt with two appeals – one from campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller, the second from the government.
Mrs Miller was appealing against the English High Court’s decision that the prorogation was “purely political” and not a matter for the courts.
The government was appealing against the ruling by Scotland’s Court of Session that the prorogation was “unlawful” and had been used to “stymie” Parliament.
The challenge in the Scottish Court was brought by a cross-party group of MPs and peers led by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry.
The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman said the Supreme Court had to resolve the two dramatically contradictory rulings.
He said if the justices ruled Mr Johnson’s advice to the Queen was unlawful, either because of an improper motivation or because of the effect of the decision – with legislation lost and Parliamentary scrutiny improperly denied – it could lead to calls for the PM to resign.
Asked whether he would resign in such circumstances, Mr Johnson told the BBC: “I’m going to wait and see what the judgement is,” adding that the government “fully respects the law and fully respects the judiciary”.
During the Supreme Court case, government lawyer Lord Keen QC said it was “forbidden territory” for judges to intervene on political arguments about when and how Parliament is suspended.
However, Lord Pannick QC, representing Mrs Miller, argued the “exceptional length” of the prorogation was “strong evidence” that the prime minister’s motive was to “silence Parliament”, which he saw as an obstacle to his political aims.
Mr Johnson said he was proroguing Parliament in order to hold a new Queen’s Speech on 14 October to outline the government’s legislative plans for the year ahead.
However, the timing has been controversial because it reduced the time Parliament was sitting ahead of the Brexit deadline, with MPs unable to put questions to ministers or scrutinise government legislation during the suspension.